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Spartina Salt Marshes in Southern England: II. Rate and Seasonal Pattern of Sediment Accretion

D. S. Ranwell
Journal of Ecology
Vol. 52, No. 1 (Mar., 1964), pp. 79-94
DOI: 10.2307/2257784
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2257784
Page Count: 17
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Spartina Salt Marshes in Southern England: II. Rate and Seasonal Pattern of Sediment Accretion
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Abstract

Quarterly accretion measurements were made for 2 years on Spartina marshes at Bridgwater Bay, Somerset, and for a shorter period at Poole Harbour, Dorset. Extremely high accretion rates, up to 8-10 cm per year regularly, in high level ungrazed marsh occurred at Bridgwater Bay and stratigraphical evidence confirmed the results. Much lower accretion rates occurred in Poole Harbour and the reasons for these differences are discussed. A distinctive seasonal pattern of accretion discovered at Bridgwater Bay was thought to be related to weather, tides and possibly the seasonal development of microflora on the mud flats. About 40 000 m^3 of silt are estimated to be trapped on the Bridgwater Bay marsh annually at present, i.e. about 500 m^3/ha/year. Statistical analyses of results suggest that rise in accretion should be considered as related to a general factor associated with increasing height of marsh and height and weight of vegetation and decreasing vegetation density, rather than to any one of these factors specifically. A regression equation is given which enables estimates of accretion at any point on the Bridgwater Bay marsh to be made.

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